Low-carb? Keep fruits and veggies
Dear Dr. Roach: Would you be so kind as to send me a copy of your recommended low-carbohydrate diet? I would like an expert diet on which to base my food selection. — K.H.
There is no specific diet I feel comfortable recommending for everyone. For people who want a lower-carb diet, I recommend eliminating processed starches, like white bread, pasta and rice, while continuing to eat vegetables and fruits. There is very good evidence that a plant-based diet, with no more than moderate amounts of animal protein, is a healthy overall diet for most people. Increasing fats from olive, nut and vegetable oils is reasonable, and there is some data to show this may help with weight control and to prevent and treat diabetes. A dietitian nutritionist is an expert in helping create a personalized diet.
Dear Dr. Roach: As I’ve aged, I find sleeping to be more and more difficult. When I take a product whose chief ingredient is diphenhydramine, I sleep well with no side effects, but I worry about long-term consequences. Is this safe to take daily? — T.C.
Most people take diphenhydramine and have no problems; however, I still don’t recommend it, especially for older people. These drugs increase the risk of falling, lead to a higher risk of motor vehicle collisions, and may cause symptoms of confusion and dry mouth. Whenever possible, I recommend avoiding medication and focusing on behavioral techniques that have been proven effective: have a regular sleep schedule; avoid alcohol and caffeine near bedtime; and don’t use bright lights or computer screens before bed. Finally, many older adults need less sleep. If you are sleeping fewer hours than you think you should be but aren’t sleepy during the day, then you are probably getting enough sleep.